Shefa Gold is smarter than I am. Where I get caught amongst the Trees, she sees the shape of the Forest. Where I bumble blind through every single relationship in my life – barking my shins on the sharp corners, reading my life in Braille, Shefa sees challenge and hope and an invitation to love.
Luckily, this Valentine’s Day, I have her book for inspiration. In the Fever of Love: An Illumination on the Song of Songs – Shefa Gold enters into a poetic conversation with King Solomon, with her Beloved, with the reader and with God.
Shefa imagines that we can “live our whole lives by the Song of Songs” and comes up with 10 commandments that would have an explosively positive impact on the objects of our passion, and ourselves too, if we were to follow them.
In this book, Shefa makes the point that the Beloved is not just a physical lover. This relationship can be our relationship to anything we are passionate about: music, an idea, a place, a friend, a colleague, a lover, a spouse, a talent, God.
For instance, today, I invited the power of commandment Number Three into a conversation I had between two friends I know who are each going through a bad time. The commandment is: Thou Shalt cultivate generosity in appreciation of the Beauty that is before Thee. In her explanation of this “commandment,” Shefa states: “To praise is a transformative act: It changes the giver and the recipient both.” Just a few moments spent noticing aloud how lovely it was to see how honest and generous these two are with each other took them out of an anxious, frustrated mood and put them in a very good space where they acknowledged how very seen they feel with one another.
Here is a glorious vision that invites us to live with love as our starting point, as opposed to other motivations: fear, loneliness, greed, selfishness. Love is the can opener, and Shefa Gold points us how to open ourselves with it.
With this book, every day is Valentine’s day, as you increase your ability to bring more love into your life.